Missing In Action – The Anti-War Movement


Ezra Klein’s Wonkblog:

How Obama demobilized the antiwar movement

As the Obama administration considers military action in Syria, Rosie Gray wonders why the antiwar movement has been strangely muted: ”Though some groups have organized online petitions and some real-life protests,” she reports, “the antiwar crowd that was on fire before the war in Iraq has made hardly a dent in the conversation surrounding Syria.”

So where did the protesters go? One obvious theory is that Syria is just vastly different from Iraq — no one’s talking about sending in ground troops this time. That could explain why the opposition isn’t quite so fierce.

Alternatively: It’s also only been a few days since U.S. officials have started talking seriously about lobbing missiles at targets in Syria. Maybe the protests just haven’t had time to gather steam yet. Wait and see.

A third possibility, though, is that the election of Barack Obama sapped the energy of the U.S. antiwar movement. Reihan Salam points to a 2011 paper by sociologists Michael T. Heaney and Fabio Rojas, who find that antiwar protests shrunk very quickly after Obama took office in 2008 — mainly because Democrats were less likely to show up:

Drawing upon 5,398 surveys of demonstrators at antiwar protests, interviews with movement leaders, and ethnographic observation, this article argues that the antiwar movement demobilized as Democrats, who had been motivated to participate by anti-Republican sentiments, withdrew from antiwar protests when the Democratic Party achieved electoral success, if not policy success in ending the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan.

Heaney and Rojas begin by puzzling over a paradox. Obama ran as an antiwar candidate, but his first few years in office were rather different: “As president, Obama maintained the occupation of Iraq and escalated the war in Afghanistan. The antiwar movement should have been furious at Obama’s ‘betrayal’ and reinvigorated its protest activity. Instead, attendance at antiwar rallies declined precipitously and financial resources available to the movement dissipated.”

The answer is very simple:

“Since Democrats are more numerous in the population at large than are members of third parties, the withdrawal of Democrats from the movement in 2009 appears to be a significant explanation for the falling size of antiwar protests,” Heaney and Rojas write.

That theory jibes with some of Gray’s reporting. “The Democrats are missing in action because of course the president is a Democrat,” one longtime activist tells her. “That’s the biggest factor, I think. What’s tamping down the activism is partisanship.”

One more time: “What’s tamping down the activism is partisanship.”

Like all the other issue advocacy groups the anti-war movement has been assimilated into the Democratic Borg. The leaders of those various groups (Women, LGBT, minorities, environmentalists, gun control, unions, etc.) know where their bread is buttered. The rank and file members might make a little noise but they are disorganized and when push comes to shove they fall in line because “The Republicans Are Worse!™”

My how times have changed. The original anti-war movement had no problem going from protesting LBJ to protesting Tricky Dick. They believed in their cause, not in a political party.

When you sell your souls to a political party one party can take you for granted while the other party can ignore you because you ain’t gonna vote for them anyway.

I’m glad I’m not a Democrat anymore.

About Myiq2xu - BA, JD, FJB

I was born and raised in a different country - America. I don't know what this place is.
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59 Responses to Missing In Action – The Anti-War Movement

  1. 1539days says:

    In other words, the anti-war movement of a decade ago was an anti-Bush movement disguised as an anti-war movement.

    The last president I can think of in the last 50 years who didn’t get into a war / conflict (except maybe Ford) was Bill Clinton. He put US troops into what was essentially a UN operation.

  2. Lulu says:

    What a bunch of evil, fucking, hypocrites. I hope they understand that their moral and ethical bankruptcy had made Putin, PUTIN!, look sane and selfless, that ninny Miliband (who can pull a parliamentary defeat, aimed at Obama, out of a hat) is the hero in the UK for standing up for principle, and the elf Kucinich look like a statesman. The delusion of these fools superior judgement has made us all a international pariah. I hope they enjoy seeing “The One” wearing a dunce cap and treated like an idiot at the international meeting in St Peterberg. Maybe the Russians will only give him a spoon to eat with so he won’t poke his eye out.

  3. The Klown says:

    Obama Set for Limited Strike on Syria as British Vote No

    President Obama is prepared to move ahead with a limited military strike on Syria, administration officials said Thursday, despite a stinging rejection of such action by America’s stalwart ally Britain and mounting questions from Congress.

    The negative vote in Britain’s Parliament was a heavy blow to Prime Minister David Cameron, who had pledged his support to Mr. Obama and called on lawmakers to endorse Britain’s involvement in a brief operation to punish the government of President Bashar al-Assad for apparently launching a deadly chemical weapons attack last week that killed hundreds.

    The vote was also a setback for Mr. Obama, who, having given up hope of getting United Nations Security Council authorization for the strike, is struggling to assemble a coalition of allies against Syria.

    But administration officials made clear that the eroding support would not deter Mr. Obama in deciding to go ahead with a strike. Pentagon officials said that the Navy had now moved a fifth destroyer into the eastern Mediterranean Sea. Each ship carries dozens of Tomahawk cruise missiles that would probably be the centerpiece of any attack on Syria.

    • The Klown says:

      Too bad we don’t have some process of deciding whether we should go to war not. Maybe we could even get Congress involved.

    • Constance says:

      So I have to wonder why Valerie Jarret, the Persian in the white house(born in Iran), wants to strike against Syria. Maybe to give Iran an excuse they have been waiting for to attack American interests and Israel? Whatever the reason it has nothing to do with furthering the safety and goals of the USA.

  4. The Klown says:
  5. fif says:

    The mass levels of denial and delusion continue to be astonishing surrounding this presidency. Don’t forget that even war protesters don’t want to be called racists. Any disagreement = racism.

    • DeniseVB says:

      I remember when MoveOn was non-partisan until Soros gave them a million bucks and they endorsed Obama. They lost a lot of their credibility after that, especially that they stopped protesting the Iraq war after Obama was elected.

  6. The Klown says:
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  9. DeniseVB says:

    The Brilliance of Clint Eastwood is proven 😀


    I have doubts that “consulting” call was really that much about briefing members of congress, more about telling them to make Dear Leader happy or else.

  10. leslie says:

    There was a demonstration in Chicago last night with people protesting any attack on Syria or involvement in the ME. Mostly people of non-color. . . racist no doubt.

    • DeniseVB says:

      United for Peace and Justice (the group behind the national marches during Bush) sent out an email opposing any Syria action and told people to start calling and writing their reps opposing involvement. Also told them if missiles are launched, hit the streets at 6pm on the night of such action. Seems Obama’s awakening a dormant war foe.

      We’ll see.

    • Constance says:

      Clearly a racist reaction to Obama, there could be no other reason to oppose American involvement in the Middle East.

    • leslie says:

      The most interesting thing about yesterday’s protest is that it was covered on teevee news. One might have thought that since this is the reputed home of Bronco Bama, the protest might have been hushed up. (There were very few protests of W’s GWOT that were actually covered on the news.)

  11. The Klown says:
  12. The Klown says:
  13. I’m glad I’m not a Democrat anymore as well. Shame on them…..

  14. Lulu says:

    Obama’s Syria plans in disarray after Britain rejects use of force:
    White House forced to consider unilateral strikes against Assad after British PM unexpectedly loses key motion on intervention
    “Although Britain’s support was not a prerequisite for US action, the Obama administration was left exposed without the backing of its most loyal ally, which has taken part in every major US military offensive in recent years.”
    Remember the eleven dimensional chess player stuff? Uh huh. I’m not sure he knows how to put coins in a parking meter.

  15. The Klown says:
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  17. The Klown says:
    • Lulu says:

      Yes. Susan (Bengaziliarpants)(TooDumbToBeUNSecretary) Rice is advising Bronco on Syria. They have to find people dumber than Bronco or he feels bad about himself. This is somewhere around 50% or the population or 99% of the Ivy Leagues.

  18. The Klown says:
  19. s7teen70six says:

    My contribution to the anti-war effort. From The Monkees.

  20. The Klown says:

    This story starts out scandalous, turns funny, then finishes as a big nothing-burger:

    State Department reveals Hillary Clinton received $500K worth of jewelry from Saudi king

    Foreign diplomacy doesn’t always resolve world-class problems, but it sure does rake in the swag.

    Former Secretary of State Hillary Clinton was given a half-million bucks worth of diamond and ruby jewelry by Saudi Arabian King Abdullah bin Abdul Aziz and received $58,000 worth of bling from Brunei.

    The lavish gifts were among a treasure trove of keepsakes bestowed upon U.S. leaders in 2012, the State Department disclosed Thursday.

    Russian President Vladimir Putin gave Clinton a $560 bottle of cognac, while President Obama received an autographed basketball from Chinese President Xi Jiping and a 41-inch saber from Mongolia.

    Meanwhile, Vice President Joe Biden got a bare-breasted female bust from Liberia.

    The Constitution prohibits U.S. government employees from keeping presents worth more than $350. But officials at the U.S. General Services Administration said the gifts were accepted to avoid awkward moments.

    The GSA said some of the presents were donated and others were sold to the public.

  21. driguana says:

    Back in South Florida after a week in Santa Fe to fetch my Down Syndrome son and bring him back here for his 31st birthday today and a 3 week vacation at the beachy. No tv, no computer…just a radio listening to classic rock and oldies!!!! Life was good for a week….but how quickly the blood can boil….wow…the lies and hypocrisy of this administration are just amazing as the lemmings rush to the sea.

    Santa Fe was awesome…great time of the year to be there and the big local news, I think it made it nationally, too, was that the NM Attorney finally ruled on gay marriages and the first couple married were good friends and married by the SF County Clerk, also a good friend…that was nice. The TV series Longmire renewed their contract and that means another year of shooting in Santa Fe and that was cool to be there for also! And a good friend, former County Commissioner Javier Gonzales, came out of the closet to announce he was running for mayor…..wow….

    Good times in Santa Fe but nice to be back and on-line with all the craws!

    • 49erDweet says:

      Only a narcissistic idiot would think being at the hind end of something could be considered “leading”. My 3 yo gd had that nailed 2 years ago, but she hasn’t been to hahvahd, yet. And she’s the ‘boss of the world’.

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